Saturday, November 22, 2008

Redemption and romance

I have not yet read the Sunday papers (honest), but it's a safe bet that there will be more stuff comparing President-elect Obama with FDR. Perilous economic times incite thoughts of redemption-through-politics. Yesterday's stock market rally was attributed to the announcement of the name of the prospective Secretary of the Treasury.

Nobelist James Buchanan articulated public choice economics some years ago and famously introduced it as "politics without romance."

It's always good to know that the people appointed to high office are not crazies. But the hope that a crew of wise men and women will do magic is silly. We see shadow boxing by Fed chiefs and Treasury officials on an almost daily basis. The contributions by various elected officials adds nothing that might be a cause for optimism.

A low profile by the whole bunch of them might inspire market participants. ("Animal spirits" according to Keynes.) But how romantic is that?